With families planning vacations around it and bars beginning to purchase the spirit by the barrel, the popularity of bourbon in the United States is easy to see. The bourbon boom is alive and some of the major contributing factors for the industry changes that have come about since Kentucky Renaissance are:
- Growth of flavored whiskies
- Booming overseas market
- Rise of bourbon tourism
Flavored Whiskies and Bourbons
A quick walk down an aisle of your standard off-license is going to be a bit more ‘flavorful’ than it was only 5 years ago. Flavored spirits are more popular than ever and attracting a new audience of drinkers with flavors from honey and cherry to maple syrup and bacon. According to Nielsen Research, flavored whiskies in 2012 accounted for nearly 75 percent growth among all whiskies, and 42 percent of growth in bourbon.
While hardline fans of straight bourbon and whiskies are skeptical about the rise of flavored spirits, their current success is undeniable. They can serve as a gateway beverage for those moving beyond flavored vodkas and act as a stepping stone towards becoming Old Fashioned aficionados.
Booming Overseas Market
The meteoric rise in popularity of bourbon is well noted in the United States, however it may surprise you to know how popular the malted beverage has become overseas.
In 2012, spirit exports reached all-time high, selling a total of $1.34 billion worth of goods overseas with Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbons accounting for a whopping 69% of the total. The Kentucky Bourbon renaissance is alive and is spreading far beyond its bluegrass roots and research is showing that this growth is showing no signs of slowing down.
From adage.com, Euromonitor forecasts that by 2016, 70% of yearly US whiskey growth will come from non-US markets. The growth overseas is merely indicative of changing perceptions of the barreled-aged beverage. Does this mean that American palates are moving onto new beverages? Not at all. Domestic growth of Bourbon sales have exploded in the last decade, with the distillery tourism being a leading force behind the changes, which leads us into the third major factor.
Have you had the chance travel the Bourbon Trail yet? If not, it’s an expedition you may not want to miss. Covering over 200 miles and 9 distilleries in central Kentucky, the Bourbon Trail has it has become known links distilleries form Jim Beam to Maker’s Mark. Like the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, distilleries in Kentucky are focusing on expanding their tourist friendly facilities to focus on clients willing to visit them. A reason for this might be inherent to the mystique of bourbon itself. By providing facilities and distillery tours, bourbon makers are adding a true sense of authenticity to their brands. Consumers (and connoisseurs) can now see the very mash, the very barrels that their spirits are coming in. This added sense of rural authenticity is creating fans and promoters far and wide.
These are our thoughts on the major causes of Bourbon’s rising popularity and the so-called Bourbon Boom. What are some of your thoughts?
About Hillbilly Stills: Hillbilly Stills specializes in professional and home distilling equipment for moonshine. They are known for their copper moonshine still kits and their trademark Hillbilly Flute, a copper reflux column for alcohol distillation. All of the stills from Hillbilly Stills are made by hand in USA with the highest quality materials.